NASHVILLE (BP) -- This summer, thousands of Bibles will ring up for free at the registers of LifeWay Christian Stores.
It's an effort by LifeWay to help local churches take the Word of God into their communities through an initiative called "Share the Word. Together."
Churches of any denomination within 15 miles of a LifeWay store can sign up for a designated week in which each member of the church can visit the local LifeWay to pick up a free CSB personal gift Bible. Church members will then give the Bibles away in their communities.
"The goal for this free Bible giveaway is to start gospel conversations and spark invitations to weekend worship services or Bible study," said LifeWay President and CEO Thom S. Rainer.
Rainer shared on his blog this week that he was inspired to create this initiative when his church gave away loaves of bread to members and asked them to share the bread with people in their communities. He says many who received the bread came to church the next Sunday.
"I began to think, 'Could I leverage my position at LifeWay to help thousands of churches do the same?'" Rainer said. "The answer came back as a resounding 'yes'! We will be giving away the Bread of Life instead of the bread in loaves."
Along with the free Bibles, LifeWay stores will provide instructions for church members who participate in this Bible outreach ministry and bulletin inserts, graphics, logos, email templates and sample announcement scripts to churches.
Rainer said one pastor asked him how LifeWay could afford to give away so many Bibles.
"I simply told him I was trusting God to provide," Rainer said. "I have little doubt God will honor a ministry that gets His Word into the community and provides opportunities for powerful gospel conversations."
Churches are encouraged to sign up for a week that overlaps with an existing event on their church calendar, such as Vacation Bible School, promotion Sunday or back-to-school kickoff events.
Spanish Bibles will also be available for use on a limited basis for churches that designate "Spanish" in the denomination field when filling out the form.
"I have to say, this ministry is one of the most exciting endeavors I have led in the 13 years I've been at LifeWay," Rainer said. "Even more, I am incredibly excited about how God will use this ministry to impact both churches and their communities."
Learn more about "Share the Word. Together" and sign up your church by visiting sharethewordtogether.com.